Herbert Hoover entered Stanford
with what was later known as the "pioneer"
class in October, 1891. His
classes gave him a good background in geology while his
student life centered around business. Hoover set up a
laundry and a newspaper route, which brought him income. He
also worked for Dr. Branner, who presided over the
Department of Geology. Bert was paid thirty dollars a
month. Various other jobs and summer employment in Arkansas
and California with the United States Geological Survey
helped Herbert earn his way through Stanford with no loans.
In addition to his work, he was elected treasurer of the
junior class, and was the manager of the football
and baseball teams.
During his senior year at Stanford Herbert
Hoover met his future wife, Lou
Henry. She was also a geology
student whose love of fishing and the outdoors
paralleled that of Herbert Hoover's enthusiasm for these
outdoor activities. In May 1895 Hoover
graduated with a degree in geology. He spent time learning
the mining business from the bottom up; he was
employed in the deepest level of the Reward Gold Mine, near
Nevada City, California. He worked a ten-hour shift, seven
days a week at the rate of $1.50-$2.50 a day. He followed
this job with one at the Mayflower Mine.
Herbert Hoover's big break came when he took a job as a
typist with Louis Janin, an expert on western mining. Mr.
Janin appointed Hoover assistant manager of the Steeple Mine
at Carlisle, New Mexico, and later an investigator of
hydraulic installations for gravel mines in Colorado. In the
fall of 1896 Janin recommended Hoover for a position with
the British mining firm of Bewick, Moreing and Company. They
were looking for Americans skilled in gold mining practices
to work in western Australia.
Herbert Hoover was slightly
worried about his young age and limited experience, but
Janin encouraged him to take the position. By March of 1897,
Hoover was on his first trip east of the Mississippi in
order to sail for London, and meet his new employers. By May
of 1897 he arrived in western
Australia. From there, a railroad journey took him
inland to Coolgardie, described by Hoover as a place which
suffered from, "red dust, black flies, and white heat."
Local whirlwinds called "willie willies" could carry away a
flimsy house in a cloud of dust. Later the mining
headquarters were moved about 20 miles to Kalgoorlie which
Hoover found no better.
His duties included sampling,
surveying, and evaluating mines that were offered to his
firm for purchase. Hoover
traveled sometimes by camel which he said was "an
even less successful creation than a horse," to
mines with names like IOU, Siberia, and Never Never.
Hoover's big mine find was the wealthy Sons of Gwalia Mine.
He worked on all sorts of technical problems, and rose
higher in the management ranks of the company during his
time in Australia. Charles Moreing thought Herbert Hoover
could help with the firm's fortunes in China, and so he
offered Herbert a chance to go to China with a better
salary. This in turn caused Herbert to consider his personal
life, and in 1898 he cabled Lou Henry with a proposal of
marriage. Herbert traveled to China by way of the United
States. He stopped in Monterey, California, Lou's hometown,
long enough for the couple to be wed. On that very afternoon
they took the train to meet their steamer which would sail
them to China.